Second Bend in the River
The Second Bend in the River by Ann Rinaldi tells of Rebecca Galloway, a busy pioneer girl in the Ohio Territory living and working with her large family. One day, when Rebecca is seven, Tecumseh comes to visit and they strike up an odd friendship. Over the years, her friendship with Tecumseh, the respected Shawnee chief, grows into love. Rebecca must choose a future on her family homestead, or with the man she loves.
Times are changing and it can be a little bit scary and even dangerous in the wilds of the Ohio territory, but Rebecca and her family and sticking with it, even with rumors of Indian raids and war looming. When Tecumseh comes to visit he is quite taken by little Rebecca and though she is scared of him, she is mesmerized by him as well. The story spans many years as the Galloway family moves and changes. Tecumseh always comes back to visit between his talks with all the Indian tribes trying to create peace and ease fears, but every time he comes back he always makes time to talk to Rebecca, one time making her a much wanted canoe and teaching her to use it. As she grows older Rebecca realizes she doesn’t just worship Tecumseh, she loves him and though he is much older, he realizes he loves her too. Rumors fly that Tecumseh and the Indians want to start trouble and have already started scalping and killing settlers, but Rebecca knows that Tecumseh would never do that, he promised her he wouldn’t. One summer when Tecumseh is at her farm, he asks her to marry him, this is a big decision for Rebecca, she loves him, but she loves her family and doesn’t believe she can leave them and civilization behind to become an Indian wife roaming but never truly having a home. Tecumseh leaves Rebecca to make her decision and in the end she decides she just can’t make the sacrifice and go with him. They share one special kiss by second bend in the river and Tecumseh leaves again. Years later when Rebecca is married with children she hears of Tecumseh’s couragess death, and still thinks of him with fondness and the life she could have lived.
This book not only had a great story line, most of it was historically accurate. While reading it you get to see the journey Rebecca makes from childhood to being a young woman and the tough decision she has to make. The ending was also a little refreshing because it didn’t end with Tecumseh and Rebecca living happily ever after, like most romance stories do. This book not only touches your heart and keeps you glued to it, it also presents a very important part of American history in an entertaining way.-KW